We've been Living Below The Line this week. You can read about how the first two days went here. The rest of the week has been hard! My husband was able to stick to the plan and make sure our daughters also stuck to the plan when I was at the event in London on Wednesday evening. I was very proud of him for staunching it out and putting up with their pleading whilst not giving in. I had a delicious meal at the event in London which, of course, was not part of the plan. I even had a glass of bubbly. I did feel rather guilty about it but I had committed to the event before we had signed up to the plan, and it would've been rude not to taste the meal we had prepared at the event.
Thursday was tough as we were all tired and, even though dinner was filling, my daughters are missing being able to raid the fruit bowl for pudding or just grab a snack when they like. Our resolve was weakening and we were struggling.
Friday is the day when I usually mind 3 extra girls after school. I made sure that there was extra food available for them to eat and I assured their Mum (Hi Aurelie!) that they were not going to have to suffer through our deprivation along with us. It was however much less than the usual offerings I have available and all 6 children were tired and not very happy about the lack of a banquet.
Saturday (today) is the 6th day. Most people only do 5 days, but as I Meal Plan for the week, I decided to stick it out for an extra 2 days. I should've stuck to 5 days instead! LOL We managed to get outside a lot today as it was sunny and warm enough to tame the garden whilst our children played. This worked up an appetite though, despite me making pancakes for breakfast. It didn't help when our neighbours decided to have a BBQ either! We stuck to the plan today, it was torturous, we all moaned and were grumpy by the end of the day. I was glad to get our children in bed, they will probably moan in their sleep though. LOL
Tomorrow is the last day Living Below The Line. There is a shockingly small amount of provisions left. We'll go to Church as usual and my 3 girls will get a sausage in a bun before the service as we have been giving them to the 15 or so unaccompanied children from the local estate who have been turning up for services without having had breakfast.
Lunch and dinner will be as per the plan with no food left for snacks. By the end of tomorrow we will be glad to get back to normal and I shall be compiling our Meal Plan for next week tonight and shopping for it tomorrow afternoon.
I'm really glad that we took part in the campaign. It has been a great life experience for our children as well as my husband and I. We are all more aware of how much we actually need to eat versus what we think we need to eat. It has been great for our 3 girls to know how little others live on and gain an appreciation for what we have and how lucky we are. They have discussed it at school too. We will take part in the campaign next time around too and when we do I shall try and hunt out more food for our money and not cheat with a lovely dinner and glass of champagne.
This has been a really long and difficult week but one that has taught us so much. I think it would be difficult to stick to £35 a week long term but I am sure we could do it, after we got used to it, and be much more creative with meagre resources. If we had a big allotment and our own chooks to provide us with eggs, it would be much easier to live on £35 a week.
We are so lucky that we got to live this way for only a week. £1 a day is what 1.4 billion people worldwide have to live on. That means they must pay for everything – not just food on £1 a day. That figure is the World Bank's benchmark for 'extreme poverty'. This past week we got a small insight into what it is like to be out of our comfort zone living on much less than normal. Our perceived deprivation is nowhere near what millions of people experience everyday. We rediscovered how lucky we are, how much we have, and how little we need. Those lessons are invaluable reminders for us to be more aware of how we, and others, live. It hasn't been easy but has definitely been well worth it!